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March 19, 2005

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march 19 2005 seattle center peace rally
march 19 2005 seattle center peace rally
A Protest of One
march 19 2005 seattle center peace
march 19 2005 peace rally seattle center
I left today wide open so I could attend, in a leisurely fashion, the noon peace rally at Seattle Center. It's been an unseasonably sunny and warm winter, but today it rained and rained. I bungee'd a banner to my bike and slowly pedaled off. The streets were quiet and I took my time getting there. It was cold and wet but I didn't fret. Sometimes in such conditions I get impatient, want nothing more than to get there, but for some reason today I was afflicted with a mild elation, was savoring each moment as it came. Maybe it was the clean air and quiet from having so few cars on the road, maybe the rain was washing some bad energy away. Later, I found out Linda saw me from a passing bus. Before she knew it was me, she felt sorry for the cyclist caught in the rain. But once she recognized me, she felt OK. That's how I felt, too--I wasn't a victim battling the weather, I was a content being at home in my element. Nearing the top of Dexter Ave, I stopped to photograph some graffiti. Lucky I did, because I noticed my rear brake cable had come undone--something which could have been a problem on the long descent just ahead.

Taking the long way to the center, I paired up with another cyclist who informed me drilling in ANWR would soon begin. We both wished the oil would run out already. Supply isn't the problem, burning it is.

As I arrived, Puget Sound System was busting relevant rhymes. I'd like to track down their music but right now clusty searches come up empty. I strapped one side of my banner to a pole, unfurled it, and stood holding the other end. Over the course of the next hour and a half I got slowly soaked, but for some reason never felt uncomfortable, tired, or cold. Attendance (1,000 - 2,000 estimate) was low compared to the massive turnout two years ago when the illegal, immoral, and inhuman invasion of Iraq was about to begin, which means either people didn't know about the rally or are resigned to being bilked and misled by our outlaw government. Still, I saw a lot of familiar faces and made some new acquaintances.

After the rally, I rode my bike to Miller Paint in Ballard. I've got a painting side job coming up and am making a point of doing it all by bicycle. I'm transporting all the supplies in one trip, including handtools, trays, dropcloths, brushes, rollers, wallpaper perforator and solvent, masking tape, and a 12-lb tub of wallpatch compound. (The 4 gallons of paint will be provided on-site by the owner.) While I was in the store, a middle-aged woman explained to the counterman that the Huskies had won, so her husband was in a forgiving mood and thus she could choose her own colors. She repeated this three times, making their power relationship evident to everyone in the store. Another couple came in to buy some graffiti remover. The counterman said he knew someone who once stayed up all night with a BB gun to deter vandals. The husband said he'd use more than a BB gun, very proud to display his murderous intent. Competition and violence define American culture.

That's nothing new. American history is 500 years of genocide, war, and police repression. The tax-funded state terrorism of Bush and crew is an American tradition and it's never going to be voted or legislated away. Imperial ambition is never satisfied. It's up to we the people to organize, draw the line, and turn the tide.

Either that or stay glued to the tube and go along for the ride.

It's not going to get better by itself. As one angry man in an SUV delayed by the march shouted at the passing pro-democracy demonstrators: "You're next!"

related links: Seattle IMC photo essay  common dreams article  CNN Poll